So it's a Monday recently, my day off, and our little family is leaving the house to go run some errands together. The World's Greatest Husband is carting The World's Cutest Baby, and I am disorganizedly bringing up the rear.
As I come out the door, Eric freezes on the front rim of the porch. 'Bets?' he calls rarily, 'why don't you go back in...'
At the same time, I'm looking down the sidewalk, thinking 'Why would someone have left those two big garden hoses lying across the sidewalk like tha/hey wait a minute, that's not a gAAAAARRRGGGRRRRAAAAAGH!"
I FLY into the house, screaming. Not content to have a door between me and the snakes, run through 2 rooms and flatten myself against the back wall in the kitchen.
I'm not proud of this. This is a little like the time I saw a mouse - a cute little baby mouse - in the kitchen of my Baltimore apartment and found myself standing on a chair. Yeah, like the shapely torsoless housewife legs in Tom and Jerry.
Anyway, husband deposits baby inside (YES, I LEFT MY CHILD TO BE EATEN BY SNAKES.) and reports that they look like black racers, about 4-5 feet long. One had already slithered off, but the larger of the two was still sunning on the walk. And he goes back out there, where he's joined by a friend.
Minutes go by, as a pace around the kitchen trying to shake the RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRg out of my head and upper body. With the friend coaching, Eric gets a broomstick under the snake's middle and tosses it into the woods. I collect myself (about 20 minutes) and we leave, for real this time, scouting carefully with every step.
Later, I learn two things: first, that Eric had initially tried to pick up the snake with his hand behind its head - "They're helpless if you grab them right behind the head!" Oh, of course, that's a good plan, let's put our fingers as close to its face as possible. (I'm not sure which is more disturbing - the possibility of a bite or just, you know, looking closely enough at a live snake to identify its shoulder area.)
"But then it was coiling to strike(AAAGH)so I used the broomstick (good) and it actually ended up in a tree (AAAAAAAAGGGGH) and you know, it seemed fine, just slithering from branch to branch (AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABLECHYUKBRRRRRAH!)
Fabulous. Now I can never leave the house again. That's just great. A couple of other snake sightings have come up in conversation, but I could ignore those with just a breif blrrrhg - that, by the way, is the sound of skin crawling. But now that I've seen some in person - we'll just have to move.
I say to Eric, 'I'll call the realtor, and set things up so we can move. You know, away. From Snakeland.'
'Oh really?' he asks. 'And where shall we move?'
'The city, of course. No snakes in the city. The urban environment is famously hostile to snakes.'
'Yeah?' says he. 'What is it that snakes eat?'
'Rats,' I murmur, disgusted. It's clear where this is going.
'And what were those snakes just lying on?'
'Sidewalk', I reply, barely audible. Okay, fine. Fine. The city is the perfect place for snakes. I'm sure Baltimore's teeming with them. Now, as well as looking up in the trees and out across the walk whenever I leave the house, I'll have to scout among the cobblestones downtown. Fabulous.